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China Daily - - FRONT PAGE -

China’s role will con­tinue to have great im­por­tance in re­gional eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion and in­te­gra­tion, the head of a mul­ti­lat­eral group said on Tues­day in Manila.

Lee Jong-heon, sec­re­tarygen­eral of the Tri­lat­eral Co­op­er­a­tion Sec­re­tariat, said he is im­pressed by China’s ini­tia­tives to ad­vance the con­struc­tion of an East Asia eco­nomic com­mu­nity.

Lee at­tended meet­ings of the 20th ASEAN Plus Three Sum­mit ear­lier in the day. His or­ga­ni­za­tion was es­tab­lished in 2011 to pro­mote peace and com­mon pros­per­ity among China, Ja­pan and the Repub­lic of Korea.

China’s ini­tia­tives are im­por­tant and help­ful in deep­en­ing and broad­en­ing co­op­er­a­tion in the re­gion as well as push­ing for­ward the es­tab­lish­ment of the eco­nomic com­mu­nity, he said.

Lee pre­dicted the ASEAN Plus Three will be­come one of the most suc­cess­ful and in­sti­tu­tion­al­ized re­gional co­op­er­a­tion mech­a­nisms.

“China will turn out to be very, very suc­cess­ful in pre­vent­ing an­other fi­nan­cial cri­sis in the re­gion and boost­ing re­gional co­op­er­a­tion and in­te­gra­tion,” he said.

Af­ter the fi­nan­cial cri­sis struck Asia in the 1990s, many re­gional coun­tries suf­fered from aus­ter­ity mea­sures de­manded by the International Mon­e­tary Fund, he said.

Dur­ing the cri­sis, the 10 mem­bers of the As­so­ci­a­tion of South­east Asian Na­tions and their three di­a­logue part­ners — China, Ja­pan and the ROK — found a way to help sta­bi­lize re­gional economies, Lee said, through the Chi­ang Mai Ini­tia­tive and the Asian bond mar­ket.

The ini­tia­tive is a mul­ti­lat­eral cur­rency swap agree­ment among ASEAN mem­bers and their part­ners that serves as a fi­nan­cial safety valve.

“China is very en­thu­si­as­tic in im­ple­ment­ing new fi­nan­cial co­op­er­a­tion mech­a­nisms. ... With­out this kind of fi­nan­cial safety net, we will al­ways be wor­ried about an­other pos­si­ble cri­sis,” Lee said.

Lee said tri­lat­eral co­op­er­a­tion among China, Ja­pan and the ROK will be im­por­tant for broader re­gional co­op­er­a­tion and even­tu­ally glob­al­iza­tion. He said that though glob­al­iza­tion and re­gional co­op­er­a­tion are fac­ing chal­lenges in the wake of Brexit and ris­ing pro­tec­tion­ism, most coun­tries in the world fully rec­og­nize their im­por­tance.

“It is very im­per­a­tive for these three coun­tries (China, Ja­pan and the ROK) to make joint and de­ter­mined ef­forts to keep the mo­men­tum for this open, re­gional co­op­er­a­tion.”

Lee said co­op­er­a­tion will be in­evitable among the three coun­tries given the ge­o­graph­i­cal prox­im­ity, cul­tural sim­i­lar­ity and ne­ces­sity to co­op­er­ate with each other in non­tra­di­tional se­cu­rity ar­eas. That is in­ter­con­nected with the re­gion through var­i­ous mech­a­nisms, he said.

China will turn out to be very, very suc­cess­ful in pre­vent­ing an­other fi­nan­cial cri­sis in the re­gion.” Lee Jong-heon, sec­re­tary-gen­eral of the Tri­lat­eral Co­op­er­a­tion Sec­re­tariat

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